My friend Mike Holliday set this one up for me months ago, and, sure enough, it came around. This venue is in a very picturesque part of PA, along a relatively narrow gorge with room for a row of houses on each side of the street. It’s in an old general store with tables and chairs, bakery showcase and an area rug near the front window. As I arrived, Mike stopped in and helped me get settled in and then headed off to his gig in Pottstown. My first time here. I relished the opportunity.
Folks were already in the process of ordering the venue’s Friday pizza specials, some with their own bottles of wine and beer – a nice mix of Thanksgiving families, a few kids, parents, grandparents, some couples out for a meal and chatter.
I had my small PA with me and I started in with some songs, some aimed at the kids who I encouraged to join in on with my bag of instruments. They were somewhat shy at first, but one small girl with her parents got in the program quickly and became a spotlight for the rest of the 25 people gathered on a chilly evening. The warmth quickly spread and I was able to mix kids songs with adult songs, mandolin tunes without commanding the room. The applause was somewhat shocking in a restaurant situation, but gratifying.
The older folks didn’t seem to mind the kids and the shakers and the parents definitely appreciated the distraction and entertainment for the kids while they could carry on adult conversations with their friends. It was curious to see the reaction of the staff. I’m sure they were not expecting this.
As the children left with their parents, the other adults tuned in to my my more mature material. The owner came out and chatted with the adults and got good feedback. The night ended early for them (post holiday, I suppose) and I did well in the tips in the mandolin case
I had forgotten the financial details of the gig from months ago, so I asked what was up. Seems I was working for tips, plus some bakery goodies to go. I got a bag of croissants and scones, a fine pizza to go and a loaf of raisin/apple bread that will last me a week. All in all, I made gas money plus, some good food and a pleasant Friday night. I’ll be fine in returning to do it again, especially in the tips department (they seemed trained to give generously).
It was good to surprise folks with my two hours of music.